And she walked up – Rachel, I mean, and she’s my daughter – and she put her hands right up on my face, like one on either cheek, and she looked me dead in the eyes.
She said, “You sort of look like Bette Davis.”
And I thought, “Okay.” I thought, “This is something I can live with. There are a lot worse things a nine year old can tell you than you look like than Bette Davis.”
She said, “Or Steve Buscemi. Yeah.” She said, “You look like a cross between Bette Davis and Steve Buscemi.”
And you know how sometimes somebody says something to you – just some off-the-cuff remark or random thought – and you just know that you’re going to remember it twenty years from now? Like you’re going to be sitting on your death bed and you’re going to be going over your life and this is going to be one of the two dozen or so things you can recall?
For the rest of my life, every time I look in a mirror, I am going to think Bette Davis.
…Or Steve Buscemi…
…Or I’m going to think Bette Davis and Steve Buscemi…
Thank God she doesn’t know who Peter Lorre is.
So that got me thinking about faces and thinking about beauty, and then I read this study the other day, and it turns out that scientists? They know. They’ve got it all mapped out, this facial beauty thing. They know the proportions. They know the shapes. They know the symmetry behind the whole thing.
They know what we like and they know why we like it.
possessor of the perfect face.
They know Florence Colgate has the perfect female face. This is the face that males see and want to breed with. Which is really what the whole beauty thing is about, anyway. Breeding, I mean. Fitness for reproduction.
But I am generally attracted to women and – with all due respect to Ms. Florence Colgate – if I saw that face coming down the street, and then it went away, and then five minutes later walked back past me, I’m not sure I’d remember having seen it the first time.
I admit that might not be a deal breaker for human males seeking a mating partner. Hell, it might even be a plus.
Maybe I’m just weird. I am probably weird, what with the unnatural sexual proclivities and all that abominating.
But I can remember my thinking for a few years back now and ever since I can remember, I have been drawn to interesting faces. Not healthy faces. Not symmetrical faces. Not perfect faces of the sort that scientists would pick out with their fancy computer programs.
Interesting faces. Faces like puzzles. Faces that make you wonder what is going on inside, behind the eyes. How did they get that way? How the hell’d they grow that thing?
|Young Lou... and old.|
Lou Reed looks like he might have some sort of congenital mental disorder and I find his face endlessly fascinating. I could stare at him all day if most his music weren’t so bad.
If an art student painted a picture of a person with a face like Patti Smith, his instructor would immediately fail him. She looks like something terrible happened to her during the night.
Sometimes Tom Waits looks like he has fetal alcohol syndrome.
So does Neil Young.
And Polly Jean Harvey looks like a Muppet and young Roger Waters looked like an alien doing a shitty job at trying to pass himself off as a human. Phillip Glass looks like a fish and Samuel Beckett always looked (to me, at any rate) as though he’d had brain surgery that got botched and left him… you know, left him a little bit “off”, as they say.
But these people have the greatest faces I have ever seen. I take one glance at them and I’ll never forget them. Any of them. I take one glance at them and I want to know more.
|Young Patti Smith... and old.|
Now, no one would look like any of these people on purpose, villagers with torches being what they are. Nobody walks into their barber let alone their plastic surgeon and says, “Yeah, I want to look like Lou Reed. Can you make my eyes go in two different directions at the same time?”
And who else, who else? Who am I missing?
How about Bette Davis and Steve Buscemi?
Life is too short to spend drooling over a generic department store mannequin.
Maybe I’m just rationalizing my own freakiness…